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By: Nihithasri Anepally

Hi everyone! We are starting off our All About Muscles series, and this article starts off by highlighting the dangers of toxic masculinity. Toxic Masculinity is an important topic, that is not discussed enough. We hope you enjoy this article and learn more about the effects of toxic masculinity.


“PUSH. Persist Until Something Happens. No Limits. No Excuses. No Fea-”

He switched off the T.V. in exasperation. Push, they said. Well, how long would he have to keep pushing to feel good, to look good, to be included in society?

He closed his eyes, reminiscing about the model's image on the news. Easy for him to speak about fear. He has the ‘superhero body.’ What more would he need?

Shaking his thoughts away, he stood up from the couch and made his tiny protein shake, the only thing keeping him alive at the moment. With his shake in one hand, he made his way to his garage and unlocked his car. Then, the routine continues as he makes his way to the gym for the fourth time that day.

It has been three whole years of this excruciating routine. Wake up, read “motivating” and “influencing” articles about the wanted male physique, make who knows how many protein shakes, and speed to the gym.

It started with a positive note. Now that he was an adult, he wanted to do something good for himself. Something that would let him be free. Something that would make him feel like himself again.

Well. That mindset is now a juxtaposition, isn’t it?

Nowadays, it has always been hours of extreme gym work and then hours of harsh criticism. The man would wearily walk into the gym just to be surrounded by men with the perfect physique. He was surrounded by men that he wanted to be like.

He would watch the people around him lifting heavier weights and looking exactly like the models you would find on the cover of magazines or newspapers.

It was a constant cycle. No matter how much he would overwork himself, he just never seemed to be like the others. He felt indifferent and excluded from everyone else.

He would stare at his lifeless body in the mirror, wondering how else he could perfect his physique. This is where his eating disorders would follow. No number of diets or protein shakes could stop him from overeating or not eating at all.

It was a game of tug of war between being healthy and having a ‘superhero’ physique. In this case, neither side was winning. This game has done nothing but tear him apart, physically and mentally.

Regardless, he would stay at the gym for long hours, even after everyone else had left. After periods of silent tears, he would drag himself back home again, where he would again switch on the T.V. and hear the same word.


✽ ✽ ✽ ✽ ✽ ✽

Toxic body culture is something that is not talked about enough. Recently, the subject has been touched by celebrities who have professions that surround the gym, like bodybuilding. For instance, one of the internet’s most popular fitness personalities, Zyzz, has shed light on the toxicity males face in the bodybuilding world. However, this subject has not been talked about more.

Therefore, society does not realize that male body image is also a huge problem. This issue leads to a series of destructive behaviors to change their appearance to fit society’s standards. This includes working out way too much, going on extreme diets, and even overuse of steroids.

Males also suffer from negative body image but are trapped in the shadows.

One of the unique difficulties that come with being a male in this world comes from toxic masculinity. This terrible concept has encouraged men to suppress their emotions and fix anything by themselves. They are thought to be ‘strong’ and ‘tough-looking.’ But that’s merely on the outside. On the inside, however, many twisted emotions are buried deep inside that only men would understand.

Regardless, only a tiny sliver of all body types is represented as healthy when that is not the case. Behind the models' smiles in magazines or the encouraging words of bodybuilders, the media never portrays any aspect of toxic body culture.

Therefore, it is essential to be there for each other and know that no one is ever alone. Out of all of these people in this world, there will be at least one that shares the same thoughts and feelings as you do.

Masculinity is not defined by what you look like. Masculinity is determined by the way you express yourself. The way you are. The way you want to be.


We hope you enjoyed this article on Toxic Masculinity and learned about male body image issues. People need to understand that toxic body culture impacts men as well, and that masculinity is not determined by your appearance.

If you enjoyed this article, check out our last article, on Von Willebrand's disease, written by Alexandra Fuhs.

Thanks for reading,

Nihitha and the Writing Committee :)

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Thank you for writing about toxic body culture. Way to go, Nihithasri.

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